Berning man: Musician organizes benefit concert for Bernie Sanders

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bushwick is Berning!

A group of musicians will rock out to raise cash for Brooklyn-born presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Oct. 8. The fund-raiser at the Paper Box in Bushwick will feature a bevy of Brooklyn musicians and DJs, playing a politically-charged set that the show’s founder says will get Brooklynites berning hot for the Democratic candidate.

“These are all very political, strong, passionate songs,” said Armand Aviram, who also curated the set list. “We’ll be playing John Lennon, Bob Marley, ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ which is actually Bernie’s campaign theme song.”

Aviram says his affection for Sanders started in 2010, when the Vermont senator spent almost nine hours filibustering an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. Once Sanders announced that he was running for president, Aviram realized he could use his experience as a musician to support the socialist candidate from Flatbush, and he put together “Berning Up Brooklyn.”

“I was a music teacher for eight or nine years, and I was a show director at School of Rock for three or four years, so the truth is I had a ton of experience doing the exact same thing, but with kids, not professional musicians,” said Aviram. “So this kind of thing is very much in my wheelhouse.”

The musician cold-called more than 100 artists to get the line-up for 20 performers for the show, and he recruited his mother to provide artwork for the event’s posters and flyers.

“I started talking about Bernie as soon as he announced and my family has always been politically minded,” said Aviram, “and I had mentioned to my mom there was an ‘Artists for Bernie’ Facebook page, and she just sent me a sketch of him that she was doing one day and I was just blown away.”

“The campaign has actually seen the artwork and they love it,” he added. That sketch, and other art inspired by Sanders, will be on display during the fund-raiser.

“Berning Up Brooklyn” at the Paper Box [17 Meadow St., between Waterbury and Bogart streets, (718) 383–3815,]. Oct. 8 at 7 pm. $10.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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